Unless the R&A announces a change in the criteria for earning spots in the British Open, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen will have a chance to play next July at Royal Liverpool because he won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews. All past winners are given a spot in the field until they reach age 60.
However, after tying for second at the 2021 PGA Championship, then being the runner-up at the U.S. Open and tying for third at the British Open that same year, Oosthuizen is teetering on the brink of missing the other three majors in 2023.
Last week, Golfweek explained to readers how pros earn spots in all four major championships, and while each uses a slightly different set of criteria to fill out their field, maintaining a high spot on the OWGR is a primary method elite golfers use. For instance, golfers ranked 50 or better on Dec. 31, 2022 can expect to get an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters.
As of Monday morning, Oosthuizen is No. 49.
The OWGR does not award points for performances in LIV events, so like most LIV golfers, Oosthuizen’s spot on the OWGR has slowly risen since he was suspended from the PGA Tour. In his case, Oosthuizen has risen from No. 21 in early July to No. 49 on November 20. If he goes higher than 50, and he likely will in the next week or two, Oosthuizen will not meet any of the traditional criteria used by the Augusta National Golf Club to warrant an invitation. He also won’t have an exemption into next season’s PGA Championship. As for the U.S. Open, Oosthuizen will likely need to go through qualifying to get into the field at Los Angeles Country Club because the OWGR cutoff for an exemption has traditionally been No. 60 two weeks before sectional qualifying (May 23, 2023) or on the day of sectional qualifying (June 6, 2023).
Three other LIV golfers are likely feeling better than Oosthuizen on Monday because they appear to have earned spots in the field at the 2023 British Open.
Traditionally, golfers who finish in the top 30 in the DP World Tour’s Race to Duabi earn a spot in the following year’s British Open. Rory McIlroy won on Sunday, but Spain’s Adrian Otaegui finished 15th and fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal finished 23rd. England’s Richard Bland finished 24th.
Those performances do not earn them a spot in any of the other three major championships and their world rankings of 98 (Otaegui), 86 (Larrazabal) and 89 (Bland) are not high enough to earn exemptions either.